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Blog Category: First responders

The American Jobs Act: Preventing Teacher Layoffs and Keeping First Responders on the Job

President Barack Obama delivers remarks on the American Jobs Act at West Wilkes High School in Millers Creek, North Carolina, Oct. 17, 2011 (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

This morning’s USA Today noted that budget cuts claim hundreds of thousands of county and city jobs due to shortfalls in local sales and property taxes. Each of these layoffs hurts the local community. Those laid off don’t spend at local businesses and they don’t purchase local services. That’s the crux of Ezra Klein’s case for rehiring public workers and why the President has put forth his American Jobs Act, to provide communities with some support while the economy gains speed.

Today President Obama is traveling to North Carolina and Virginia talking about his plan to put Americans back to work and keep teachers and emergency responders on the job. He urged Congress to pass his proposal to provide funding to prevent teacher layoffs and keep police officers and firefighters on the job. The American Jobs Act includes $30 billion in teacher stabilization funds which will support state and local efforts to retain, rehire, and hire educators as well as $5 billion for first responders.

In the afternoon, the President will travel to Greensville County High School in Emporia, Virginia. Virginia would receive more than $740 million of the $30 billion included in the American Jobs Act to prevent teacher layoffs, which would support 10,800 jobs across the Commonwealth. Greensville County Public Schools would receive an estimated $1.6 million of this funding for teacher jobs. Greensville County High School has lost six teachers over the last three years due to budget cuts and is at risk of losing additional teachers next year.

See how your state would benefit under the American Jobs Act.

Commerce's NIST Tests Help Ensure Reliable Wireless Alarm Beacons for First Responders

NIST engineer Kate Remley holds two Personal Alert Safety System (PASS) devices with wireless alarm capability. Photo copyright: Paul Trantow/Altitude Arts

Wireless emergency safety equipment could save lives—if signals are transmitted reliably. But few performance standards exist. Now, tests at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) are helping to ensure that alarm beacons for firefighters and other emergency responders will operate reliably in the presence of other wireless devices.

NIST is providing technical support for industry consensus standards by developing test methods to evaluate how well these devices work under realistic conditions. The latest NIST study focused on interference between Personal Alert Safety Systems (PASS) with wireless alarm capability, and radio-frequency identification (RFID) systems. The methods developed in the study can test interference in other wireless devices such as radios, hands-free cell phone headsets, local area networks, and urban search and rescue robots.  |  Read the full NIST "Tech Beat" story